Monday, May 21, 2007

The Abandoned Soldiers

I can't help but be moved by the plight of the 'abandoned soldiers' as highlighted in the BBC's Power to the People documentary tonight.

A temporary monument  in London.
It is difficult to comprehend why soldiers that have made sacrifices for the country in which we live - many suffering from limb-loss and mental issues - are not afforded a better quality of medical care and support. 

It seems that the lessons of yesterday have still not been learnt. The lessons learnt when the likes of Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen wrote of the horrors of trench warfare and the poor conditions for soldiers was brought into the public conciousness.

I have no solution to offer for this situation as I don't know enough about it, but I do support the permenent erection of a bronze memorial in London to honour those soldiers who return alive and injured. 

Something like this may help to raise further into the conciousness of British society the realities of serving in the British Army. May something be done to help them and give them the treatment and dignity they deserve.

To find out more about the fund go to: http://www.theabandonedsoldier.com/. Photograph © 2007 The Abandoned Soldier Project.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Heading Offshore with Ben Fogle

Offshore: In Search of an Island of My Own
by Ben Fogle

Islophile Ben Fogle’s second book, Offshore, builds neatly on Teatime Islands in terms of unlocking further the reasons behind his fascination with islands. This time he embarks upon a journey around the coast of the United Kingdom in order to find an island to calls his home.

The book begins and ends with Fogle’s attempts to land on Rockall, a mere pebble of an island in the North Atlantic Ocean – an island that is technically British but whose sovereignty is disputed due to purported mineral and pescarian wealth in the area. Along the way there are plenty of small adventures involving the coastguard, storms, helicopters ditching and, amongst other things, a run in with an angry Viking.

The main reasons for buying this book were: firstly the Teatime Islands seemed to appeal to my own sense of curiosity about islands and far-flung British imperial outposts; and secondly that Fogle writes in a very accessible style – really the style in which you would expect him to write if you’ve ever watched him presenting on the BBC’s Countryfile or Animal Park.

With that said, the book is a lot more stylishly written than Teatime Islands – especially in terms of the phrasing and subtlety with which historical fact is incorporated within his personal narrative. One can only hope that another wind-swept, storm-battered adventure ensues sometime soon as at around two-hundred and sixty pages long, this very easy to read traveller’s tale strangely leaves you wanting more.


My rather hap-hazard review of Teatime Islands can be found at: http://ayohcee.blogspot.com/2005/09/book-teatime-islands.html.
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